SpaceX Won NASA’s $69 Million Contract to Fly Heavy Rocket into Asteroid

SpaceX Won NASA’s $69 Million Contract to Fly Heavy Rocket into Asteroid

NASA has awarded $69 million deal to Elon Musk’s SpaceX for a challenging mission to send a spacecraft into an asteroid. Now SpaceX will ride for NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission. In the upcoming years, we may experience the Arcade Game: Asteroids in real time. Jokes apart, the mission would be a pioneer to reveal the potential to turn aside an asteroid by hitting it with a spacecraft at high speed. The aerospace company will start the mission in June 2021. If the thinks work according to plan, NASA will launch DART atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

At the moment, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory are developing DART. NASA’s planetary defense project intends to know the impact of the collision when they are hit with a kinetic impactor. Scientists will use a refrigerator-sized impactor to destroy an asteroid called Didymos. According to NASA, the mission will start in June 2021. It will obstruct a small moon the asteroid, for more than 12 months. In fact, Didymos is a group of two objects which revolve around each other. One of the objects is 800m in diameter, and another one is 170m across. The agency states in October 2022, the asteroid will be within 11 million km of Earth.

During the mission, the impactor will hit one of the objects at a speed of more than 6kmph. The event will impose a lot of kinetic force. In the end, scientists will measure and record the result of the impact by analyzing changes taking place in the asteroid’s orbit. NASA has been considering the DART mission for many years. Finally, this week, the space agency selected SpaceX for the daring mission, utilizing its potential rocket systems. In short, NASA and SpaceX are going to send an observatory into space that will smash into the asteroid’s moon.

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